cat plant
Image by alexandrei via Flickr

We once knew a young girl who loved to eat plants. Her parents had to watch her all the time when she was outside, because she just couldn’t resist tasting everything, including any available poisonous plants!  The same precaution should apply to pets, since there are numerous plant species that are toxic to cats and/or dogs, as well as to other pets. The results might be anything from a little tummy-ache to diarrhea to death.

The ASPCA  (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a searchable database of plants that are toxic  for dogs, cats, horses, and some other animals. They also have a 24-hour poison hotline.

Since some pets are very small, it might only take a small amount  of some types of poisonous plant material to have a strong toxic effect on their little bodies. Cats and small dogs would therefore be more vulnerable than horses or cows. Some of the effects of poisonous plants are vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gastro-intestinal distress, kidney damage, liver damage, seizures, convulsion, cardiovascular collapse, dehydration, muscle twitching, and other symptoms. Each plant has its own set of possible symptoms, of course.

According to the ASPCA, he most common of the plants that are poisonous to pets are:

  1. Lilies (may cause severe kidney damage)
  2. Marijuana (may cause coma)
  3. Sago Palm (may cause liver failure)
  4. Tulip/Narcissus bulbs (may cause cardiac abnormalities)
  5. Azalea/Rhododendron (may cause death)
  6. Oleander (may cause death)
  7. Castor Bean (may cause death)
  8. Cyclamen (may cause death)
  9. Kalanchoe
  10. Yew (may cause death)
  11. Amaryllis
  12. Autumn Crocus
  13. Chrysanthemum
  14. English Ivy
  15. Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
  16. Pothos
  17. Schefflera

If you have any of these as indoor “house plants,” or outdoors in areas where your pets are sometimes alone and unsupervised, consider removing the poisonous plants altogether or placing them someplace completely inaccessible to your pets.

And, if you have any small children who really can’t resist a raw, growing plant, you’ll want to remove temptation from their path, as well.